How many times do we sit through sermons or Bible studies and get little benefit because we begin with the unconscious (or conscious) attitude of already knowing all about the topic? Having no awareness of our spiritual need, no realization that we are being confronted with truth that applies to us personally, we are not teachable, but spiritually smug.
There are serious consequences for having an unteachable heart. King Saul’s kingdom was taken from him. King Asa contracted a wretched disease in his feet. The consequences for unteachableness today are every bit as real. Spiritual poverty and fruitlessness are expected results of not receiving God’s truth. We cannot experience the joy and nourishment of sweet fellowship with our heavenly Father at the same time that we are resisting Him in pride. James 4:6 tells us that God resists us when we are proud or unteachable.
In contrast, when we receive teaching with a tender and responsive heart, God produces in and through us only what is good and profitable. “He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded” (Proverbs 13:13).
For God to use us effectively, we must be teachable. As we respond to truth with agreement and obedience, we are vessels suitable for His use.